WASHINGTON -- Lois Lerner, the head of the
office under fire for improperly targeting conservative groups, was replaced by the agency's acting commissioner on Thursday, a day after she insisted she had done nothing wrong and refused to answer questions before a congressional committee.
Lerner, who has been with the IRS for 12 years, was head of the IRS office of exempt organizations, the unit that is tasked with policing charities and other nonprofits that get tax-exempt status. She has been placed on administrative leave, according to a congressional source who asked not to be identified.
An inspector general’s audit found that staff in a Cincinnati field office used terms such as “
In an email to employees, IRS Acting Commissioner
Lerner's departure was first reported by the National Review. The IRS and Lerner's attorney did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
During a hearing of the
On Thursday, the top two senators on the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations sent a letter to Werfel urging that Lerner be suspended.
“We believe that the immediate removal of Ms. Lerner from office would be a vital step in helping to restore public trust in the agency,” said the letter, signed by
The audit found that Lerner ordered changes in the screening when she first found out about it, in June 2011. But the audit also blamed the errors on failures of IRS management.
The chairman of the House oversight committee, Rep.